Defra's 'majority' on pigswill banFrom Mr Robert Persey
Sir, In 2002 Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said in a written answer to David Liddington, MP, about consultation prior to the ban on swill-feeding:
The majority of respondents were in favour of a ban on the feeding of catering waste containing meat or meat product as swill to livestock (Hansard, July 22, 2002, col 703W).
Unfortunately her Minister, Ben Bradshaw, subsequently landed his boss in the pigswill by confirming that only 32 per cent of the respondents supported a ban on the feeding of pigswill, with 37 per cent against (Hansard, March 30, 2004, col 1305W).
However, Defra has now reinterpreted the meaning of the word “majority”. In answer to my inquiry Defra states:
The use of the majority was not simply a matter of numerical counting of letters, but that those in favour of a ban included major organisations representing widespread interests. So now we know that some opinions are more important than others to the Government. Can we expect the result of the next general election to be interpreted according to the “widespread interests” of the individual voters?